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Doing strange things with airguns

by B.B. Pelletier

Last Friday’s report about the short-barreled Crosman 760 hit home with Josh Ungier, who called me with several strange uses for airguns he has heard from his customers over the years. Some of them won’t sound that strange to many of you, which is a strong indication that Jeff Foxworthy might label you as rednecks.

I thought that today I would pass along Josh’s stories, and add a few of my own.

New holes in belts
I am at the forefront of the redneck parade, having discovered the use of a pellet rifle to punch new holes in a leather belt when you are on a diet. Use a .177 rifle and shoot a wadcutter pellet if you can. Lay the belt on a two by four, unless you use a .177-caliber AirForce Condor, in which case use two two by fours, one on top of the other, to stop the pellet. Actually all it takes is a rifle that delivers at least 800 f.p.s. to punch clean new holes in leather belts. Centering the hole is the most difficult part.

Cleaning house
This one comes from Josh. A lady in Iowa camped out several nights in her attic with a new Crosman 1077AS Combo. She complained that squirrels chewed through a TV cable on the outside of their house, then set up housekeeping in their attic. Their nest was in an area impossible to reach, which anyone who has ever owned an attic should be familiar with. Before the Crosman arrived, her husband had taken it upon himself to “correct” the problem. However, his shotgun solution proved to be overkill in the confined space of the attic. After removing ricocheting bird shot from his scalp and forehead and replacing a bunch of insulation and shingles, they purchased the Crosman and got serious. They buried (or ate) a bunch of squirrels and are now living happily ever after.

A cautionary tail
Another story from Josh. “About 6 years ago, we sold a .25 caliber original British Patriot. A few months later, I received a phone call from the gentleman who purchased the rifle. As it turns out, he owns a huge 45-acre junkyard in one of the western states. He was so happy with the rifle he said he needed to share it with me.

‘Damn rats! Thousands of rats! At times the yard would swarm with them! I never liked guns! I never owned a gun; but after my dog was attacked and bitten, I needed to do something. My fiend had a .22 Patriot he bought from you years ago. He asked me to try it. After an hour of practice, I could hit everything I shot at. He suggested a .25 caliber for a sure kill. That is when I called you up. I collect the tails of most of the rats I kill. I’m at 1600 and counting.'”

At this point, I have to butt in to comment that killing squirrels in the attic and rats anywhere does not seem like a redneck venture to me. But that’s the problem. You see, when you’re a redneck, you don’t know it. Here’s the litmus test. Imagine your story being reported on the NBC Nightly News. Then, the red-neckedness of your actions becomes both clear and obvious. However, just because I said neckedness doesn’t mean you have to take your clothes off.

Time for another one.

Flying rats
This one’s from Josh:

“Son,” the conversation started, “can your rifles shoot 48 feet upwards?”

I detected a very strong southern accent. “Indeed they can,” I answered. “What is it that you are shooting at?” I continued.

“Damn sky rats. Pigeons. They crap all over my bells.”

“I beg your pardon,” I said. “Did you say bells?”

“What did you think I said?” continued the voice with a detectable light smirk. “I do not expose myself in public.” He continued laughing, “I have a church in a small parish. We have two bells in a steeple. Over time, pigeons have moved in and started roosting in the bell tower. Ringing the bells does not bother them. They leave during the ringing and then return with a vengeance. There is so much crap on the bells that they have changed their tone.

“Firecrackers did not help. It scared them and they unloaded even more on the bells. My 10/22 made holes in the roof and once in a while called parishioners to worship when I missed the pigeon and hit the bells.”

Months later I received a call from this wonderful man. “That 350 magnum is a whopper! No more holes in the roof! No pigeons, either! My son took over the exterminatin’. Thank you.”

Here’s one of mine. One of our Airgun Letter subscribers used a BB gun to rid his roof of icicles in late winter. He had learned that a pellet rifle was too powerful and would shoot through the aluminum gutters. Since the icicles were always on the roof, every shot was upward and either the gutters or the soffits were always in the shot. He learned to connect with the icicle midway up the shaft, where the vibration from the impact would cause the icicle to shatter near its root. It took several hits to do the trick with these monsters most of the time, but he found he could trim those killer four-foot spears back to about a foot this way, and no more holes in his gutters.

Post time
Here’s another one from Josh. A guy in California has a very steep driveway over 140 feet long. Too lazy to walk the distance to get the papers or the mail, he rigged up a motorized mail/newspaper box. A small electric motor is attached to a pole at the end of the driveway. A small pulley is attached to the post and driven by the motor. From the pulley, a thin nylon cable stretches back to another pulley outside a window on the house. The mailbox/newspaper box therefore hangs suspended from a cable at the end of the driveway.

Attached to the motor is a two-inch steel plate. When a pellet hits the steel plate, it starts the motor and the mail gets delivered to his window without him going outside. He uses an Air Arms S410 in .22 caliber with a 3-12×44 Leapers SWAT scope. My hat’s off to his shooting, but, man, take a walk on the wild side…once in a while!

Thanks, Josh. I would add that there is a new invention called a switch that could also activate the electric motor, but, as we all realize, where’s the fun in that?

About 15 years ago, a policeman from Honolulu told me the airlines there use pellet rifles to remove egrets nesting inside the hangars. It seems that when they nest indoors, they poop on the airplanes and their excrement is very acidic. It eats through the paint and eventually through the metal on the planes, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage every year. The pellet guns are very effective, yet they don’t penetrate the roof of the hangars, which makes them the best choice for this job.

I asked him whether egrets are a protected species in Hawaii, and he dodged the answer with, “Who cares? When the wings fall off an airliner nobody wants to count egrets!” I guess that was also NASA’s opinion when they removed the woodpeckers from the sides of their launch vehicles sitting on the pad.

By the way, the reason this policeman knew the story of the egrets was that he was one of the shooters. He said, “Outside the hangar, the egrets were fine. Inside they were endangered.”

Well that’s it for unusual airgun stories today. Perhaps some of you readers have some more stories to share with us!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

44 thoughts on “Doing strange things with airguns”

  1. Just recently did the Squarrel in the attic thing using a Beeman P1. Man the squarrels are a pain. They chewed right through the roof and nested in the attic. Sealed the hole but trapped one of the rats. It went from the attic to the basement through the walls. Man I hate squarrels.

    Also like playing with trick or accuracy shots.

    here are a couple I did video.



  2. I get mail,I have a driveway…I clearly need a new Air Arms s410!!! BB,thank you for starting my day with a laugh…and some newfound justification.LOL Ray,All I can say is wow,WOW…That candle shot and photography,I tip my hat to you sir! Frank B

  3. When I was a kid a few of us would spend days on end walking through the farmers tomato field with our 397's, using just air we must of killed thousands of tomato bugs.

  4. Oh yeah…I forgot about this use…When I would come to visit Mom she would invariably have a couple potted plants doing poorly because the pots held water and were drowning the roots…I would lay them on their sides and shoot a couple holes with .22 wadcutters!Problem solved.Redneck?

  5. Frank,

    VERY redneck and totally within the guidelines of this report.

    Speaking of tomato bugs (and I am assuming you mean the tomato hornworm?), I kill lizards and spiders in our house with just a blast of air. Usually the Condor gets the nod, but the one time I used the Quackenbush .458, I splattered guts over the ceiling and two walls.


  6. Been a long time since I commented here, but as always love the reading.

    As a kid I used my bb gun to get pecans out of the tree, and pick peaches that were to high to reach by shooting the stem, and I killed lots of grass hoppers.


  7. Hi BB,

    I have a question. You've been saying that TX200, HW77 and RWS 54 all have the same accuracy. How come we don't see HW77 and RWS54 winning FT matches these days? Thanks.

  8. Well, if you had followed field target in the 1980s and '90s you would have seen the HW77 win most of the time. Until the TX200 came along, it was the winning-est spring gun around.

    The TX wins most because its used most. The ratio of TXs to the other two rifle is hugely in favor of the TX. That is due to the fact that the TX has a near-perfect stock profile for field target, where neither of the other rifles do. The TX also has a much better trigger than the RWS Diana 54. If the 54 had the TX's trigger, it would be in the winner's circle more often than it is.

    One final strike against the RTWS Diana 54 is that it is too powerful to compete. Even in .177 caliber, it's a 21 foot-pound gun. Most clubs cap the energy at 20 foot-pounds, which leaves the 54 out. To compete, it has to be detuned–something that few owners are willing to do.


  9. Off Topic…

    Would really appreciate any comments or personal reviews of the Nitro-Piston powered Gamo Whisper CSI in .22 caliber (or even the .177 cal if that is what you own)

    Have read Tom's previous article and a few Pyramid reviews but… I am hoping to learn more about the durability of the Camo finish, feedback on the Nitro-Piston modification as well as any other comments about triggers, loading pellets or any items of interest to potential buyer (me).

    Last, it is my understanding that the Charlie Da Tuna Trigger mod for Gamo(s) wont work on the Gamo plastic trigger assemblies. Any comments or corrections on that topic?

    Tom… if you are around this week, please weigh-in on this with your usual depth of knowledge.

    Thanks All

    Brian in Idaho

  10. What a hoot!!! Loved today's post!!!

    Let's see, my belt is getting tight.

    The heaviest .177 wadcutter PA sells: RWS Supermag, 9.3 Grains. 800fps suggested to punch hole, equals 13.22 ft/lb.

    The lightest .177 wadcutter PA sells: RWS Hobby, 7.0 Grains. 800fps suggested to punch hole, equals 9.95 ft/lb

    My Talon SS on CO2 shoots 581fps with .177 CP 10.5gr which equals 7.87 ft/lb. Dang! Ain't got enough power to make a belt.

    However, if I convert the Talon SS to from CO2 to air I'll get roughly 900fps which will get me 12.59 ft/lb using the Hobbys and 16.73 ft/lb using the RWS super mags.

    Yay!!!! I have an excuse to convert to air!!! I knew there had to be an upside to getting fat.


  11. I'm so redneck BB,that my broken tv sits on top of the good one…If a fellow redneck robs me,He'll take the wrong one every time!!My truck was outfitted with infinity speakers and hidden amps…a lot of money.A portable CD player provided the music input and plugged into a hidden pre-amp.In the dash was a junk deck…all it did was turn everything hidden on and off…Someone broke a side window in My driveway,disassembled the dash and STOLE MY BROKEN CD PLAYER!!!!!!!How funny is that!

  12. BB,That story is the gospel Truth.They even stole my 1000 amp battery.it weighed 75lbs.Used batteries go for 20$.I wouldn't carry that battery 100ft for 20$,Much less risk my life …

  13. Hi B.B.,

    Hope your Christmas was full of peace, joy, and love.

    I used to use a pellet rifle to rid my mothers house of wasp nests that sat about 15 feet off to the side of her front porch. With a scope, I could break it off at the stem. They'd eventually build another one, but it would take MANY months for that to happen again.


  14. Victor,

    Now, that was dangerous! Paper wasps, which your description seems to indicate, are related to hornets and hornets have a very low threshold of tolerance for those who attack the nest.

    On the other hand, the paper from a wasps' nest makes the best wadding for a blackpowder rifle because it is fireproof.



  15. Another Wasp nest use here. Last summer, I used a 1377 at 30 feet to take out a baseball size nest that was under a second story eve. I used 4 pumps so there was no house damage. Couldn't hit the stem with iron sights, but after a few shots, there wasn't much left. Also, the wasps were milling around pretty good, but couldn't figure out where I was.

    PS re that 54 detuned thing. Jim Maccari has a kit out now for smoother shooting at lower power, should do the trick.

  16. Howdy B.B.,

    Took me all of 5 seconds to realize I'm a red neck. We make bird feeders out of 3L Deer Park water bottles by cutting a small hole in the side, burning a hole in the cap with a piece of coat hanger and suspending it in the yard with some parachute cord. A violent rain storm will blow water into these feeders, but a few well placed pellets cures that problem.

    We shoot mole crickets in the basement using cleaning pellets–a challenging hunt. I will send anyone a breeding pair if they want to try it.:)

    I caught a young wild turkey wandering down a side street in my neighborhood, but that's another story, who spent a week in the basement–didn't have a bug to shoot for months.

    A blast of air from my Discovery makes spiders disappear. Also I kill flys with a sling shot loaded with table salt. Works like a shot gun.

    We've spent many a summer night in the garden shooting slugs with wad cutters.

    Mr B.

  17. Where I work there are very large palmetto bugs, or periplaneta americana, or whatever you want to call them. They are the very largest of the cockroach species, and these in particular must have ideal living conditions because they are especially huge and aggressive. They hang out in abandoned buildings and mate under the sodium vapor lamps (how romantic!)

    I like to dispatch them with my trusty Crosman American Classic 1377c with the 1399 stock and Leapers bug buster 3-9×32 bugbuster scope.

    It is very satisfying to blow them in half, or sometimes merely seperating the head from the thorax. Unfortunately this is not a one-shot one-kill situation, as these things can live up to a week and a half without their heads.

    I recently acquired a Baikal IZH-61. I am looking forward to the opening of palmetto bug season in spring.

    As for the tomato horn-worms, I use a barbecue lighter. Snap, Crackle, Pop. I wonder if the the 1377 would work on these things with air only?

  18. i once worked in a lumber yard, and had problems with sparrows and black birds nesting in the warehouses and leaving droppings on the lumber, especially the very expensive stuff. We used a Power Line 856 and a daisy CO2 BB pistol to remove the birds.

  19. Slinging Lead,

    Now that you have reminded me, I used to shoot Texas waterbugs, a fast, smaller version of your palmetto bug, with a pellet pistol. They are extremely fast, but the stop when they think they're safe. That's when a good shot will take them out.


  20. Brian in Idaho,

    I got this right off charliedatuna's web site:

    NOTE FOR GAMO OWNERS: If you have a late model Gamo with a plastic trigger and safety, the GRT-III trigger will not work. If in doubt, check it with a magnet. If it is plastic do not order the GRT-III.

  21. I like to use a Crosman 357-SIX without a pellet–air only–to dispatch mosquitoes. Ever notice that often as you clap your hands over one it winks into a parallel universe, then winks back in to suck your blood after you've given up the chase? The Crosman solves that problem neatly.

  22. I should clarify that the palmetto bug is the largest of the common cockroach species.

    Tropical varieties such as the Madagascar hissing roach are larger. Larger still is blaberus giganteus, which gets to 3 and a half inches.

    I have not bagged either of these. One day perhaps I will get to do some big game hunting!

  23. BB,

    Was that icicle shooting story mine, by any chance? I originally published it, if I remember correctly, in American Airgunner magazine under the title, AIRGUNNING FOR ICICLES. When it folded they said they'd finish my subscription with, again I believe, your Airgun Letter, although, alas!, they never followed through.

    If not, for those of you trying this at home, get against the wall and shoot outwards towards the icicle to avoid denting or holing the gutters (of course, living in the mountains there were no neighbors' houses close enough to hit). Start at the tip of the icicle and work upwards towards the base. It is literally a blast, with the icicle blown into tiny particles, like a dead centered clay target. My gun of choice for this was a Crosman 357-SIX.

  24. Joe,

    That definitely wasn't your story. The Airgun Letter was started out of the frustration I felt after American Airgunner went away with half my subscription. So there was no promise of covering the remainder with The Airgun Letter because we didn't exists until 18 month later.


  25. Slinging Lead,

    I was telling my hooch-mates a story in Vietnam, when suddenly this HUGE cockroach landed on the side of my face. Not knowing what it was at first, I leaped backwards about 6 feet and screamed. One of my mates was kind enough to cover my embarrassment by demonstrating how to kill a Vietnamese Cockroach: he mimed jumping on one with his foot, and then mimed being thrown back off and into the air by the cockroach. It was a good story, one I've used to appreciative audiences several times since.

  26. Slinging Lead,

    I am certainly glad that you set the record straight on the largest cockroach in the world. Glad we straightened that out – rrright :).

    To this hysterical blog, I can only add this story. One day on a warm summer evening, my brother came home from his job at Picatinny Arsenal with an M-80 (an artillery simulator) He had decided to get rid of this wasps' nest that was the size of a football which had been built right in the center of a row of hedges bordering our property. My brother tossed that sucker into the hedge and ran like hell. Never saw another wasp from that nest.

    By the way, the reason the military stopped making M-80's (used as artillery simulators) was that too many of our soldiers were getting injured losing fingers and hearing from playing with them.

    Everyone knows what the last words of a Redneck are, don't they? "Hey y'all, watch this".


  27. Over the last 20 years, have had to shoot three squirrels that have gotten into the house. All were made into good squirrels with a Sheridan mounting a Williams Receiver Sight (Bought that way in "67"). I have other airguns but that one is "Go To" for indoor problems.


  28. I used to shoot black bears in the rump with my 1322 to urge them off of my back porch. Just a few pumps so I wouldn't break the skin. Started worrying about not having a quick enough 2nd or more shots, so I switched to a paint-ball gun. Man, bears hate being chased down the hill with rapid fire paintballs!


  29. In my first house, we had centipedes. After we went to bed I'd pick 'em off the bedroom ceiling with a Daisy 880 firing BB's on one pump. My wife would hide under the covers until I was done shootin'. Since the room had a textured ceiling, the dents sorta blended in.

    The NEXT house had stinkbugs but smooth plaster ceilings, so I used an airsoft pistol. Wifey still hid under the covers. Especially when, on a whim, I tried my AEG M14 – on full auto. That was a bit much even for me. Damned BB's all over the place.

    The house I'm in now I actually like, so I don't shoot it.

  30. My house has T-11 siding, and for some reason some woodpeckers love it. They hang on it and peck away – for what, I don't know. So I hit them with my 1322 with a wadcutter on just 2 or 3 pumps, depending on how high up they are. Most times I hit them and they drop dead just from the force of the impact with no penetration. And if I miss, the flat round dent is less damage than they were causing to start with.


  31. BB,
    In your opinion what is the difference between a Benjamin 392 and a Sheridan CB9 other than caliber and a slightly heavier stock on the Sheridan? Just trying to figure out the $30.00 price difference. Went to Crosman’s web site, but that did not really help. In fact, the rifles include the exact same manual??

    Bg Farmer,
    I‘ve had the Crosman 1077W for a week or so and happily the W did not stand for Wal-Mart. Nice wood stock, which is actually walnut. Fit and finish is equal to most .22 LR’s. Great little rifle and a blast to shoot. Not a rifle to put a scope on; open sights all the way on this one. Delivers 12 shots as fast as you can pull the trigger at about 550 fps…two more rifles on the way and the 61 is still in pieces…

    You win, T1-11. Nice. Lots of funny stuff today.

  32. After reading this blog, I used the shoot-to-make-a-hole idea. I was making new seals from rubber sheet for my Crosman 120, and having a problem getting a good hole in the center. I tried drilling, and melting with a heated nail, but had limited success. But, a 0.22 pellet makes a really nice clean hole!


  33. Hey y’all, first posting from me. I use my airgun to clean pebbles and bark from the garden path. Always from the master bedroom window. The concrete tiles get some lead marks but oh well. Jsb straton pellets too.

    • Phantom,

      Post on the latest (newest) blog. Very few will ever see this and we do not want you to feel not welcomed. 😉 This is a great site/blog. Stick around. By the way,…. Welcome! 🙂


    • Phantom,
      Like Chris suggested, post on the current day’s blog. Only a few of us actually use the comments RSS feed to see new posts in older blogs.
      Welcome to the blog!

  34. I’m working my way through the blog. Not much else to do diring covid-19 lockdown. Important questions i will keep till I get to the end. Who knows, the answer might have been posted in the last 10 years

    • Phantom,

      I admire your dedication! 😉 You know where to go if you got a question (current blog). If you ask a question on an older blog,.. unless people use the “Comments RSS” above and to the right,… no one will see your question. It shows all post no matter how old the blog is.

      See ya’ when ya’ get here,………… Chris 🙂

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